Hello my fellow blog lovers and supporters!
We meet again, from the far away shores of China, Beijing to be exact, to where ever you all reside in this vast, vast world we all live in. As I was going over my notes of upcoming blog ideas for you all (yes I keep notes ) 😛 I realized that I have been remiss in writing about all of the adventures and historical sites I have had the pleasure to already explore while being in here in China for over 3 months already!
So for today’s blog we are going to backtrack a bit, all the way back to January, and let me share with you all my trip to the famed Lama Temple, right here in downtown Beijing.
The Lama Temple or Yonghegong Temple is a temple and monastery of the Gelug School of Tibetian Buddhism, located in the Dongcheng District. It was built in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty to be used as the residence of the Emperor YongZheng, who was the third Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, before he ascended to the throne.
Accompanying this beautifully crafted piece of architecture are many pavilions which served and functioned the various needs of the Emperor and monks. (Insert houses to be occupied by the Emperors many ladies in waiting, other wise known as a concubine and or mistresses, in contrast to many temples filled with different, but beautifully ornate manifestations of Buddha statues. It really is a Ying with a Yang kinda scenario.
I really didn’t know what to expect, which has become my philosophy while living here in China really. When I walked through the gates, I didn’t expect to feel this rush of calm and peace to wash over me as I visited each of the ornate buildings – But, that is exactly what happened.
Allow me to explain…
As many of you know, I am not a religious person. Even though I was raised a Catholic (shout out to all my St. Mikes peeps!) Now I am not going to get into a debate here about organized religion. If you find something about believing and practicing one that resonates with you or gives you that sense of purpose or faith or peace or whatever you’re looking for, then awesome – all the power to you. I however do not have these same beliefs or experiences. I would characterize me as more of a spiritual person, who connects with and responds to energy and vibration from everyone and everything around me. That is my ‘religion’ if you will.
But I digress, I honestly didn’t know what to expect visiting a place with such ‘religious’ meaning for those practicing Buddhists here in China.
Fun fact – Did you know…
“China is a multi-religious country. Taoism, Buddhism, Islam, Protestantism and Catholicism have all developed into culture shaping communities throughout China’s history. Freedom of belief is a government policy, and normal religious activities are protected by the constitution.”
So me being a person who is greatly affected by others energy including my own, I wasn’t sure if my energy was going to jive in this religious place. But you know what, as I partook in an incense burning ceremony and just allowed my heart and my mind to be open to the experience, this overwhelming wave of calm and peace swept over me like a gentle wave. It really was a wonderfully beautiful, peaceful and calming experience that I wouldn’t have changed for anything.
As I entered each new temple, filled with a new Buddha manifestation, I was pulled into the tradition and beauty of the ritual and practice that I once partook in Sunday morning mass. It really was magical.
The best way to show you what I experienced is through the numerous pictures and videos I took. Take a gander…
Are you wondering if I am now at an internal crossroads of once again becoming religious or remaining an agnostic?
Nope, I’m still an agnostic, but now I have a new found open mind and appreciation for what religion can offer those that feel a connection and who need that sense of belonging – surrounding themselves with other like minded individuals. That sense of community that church can offer those that feel lost or disconnected from life and from others can not be dismissed or discounted. This I will acknowledge and have a new found appreciation for.
Thank you all once again for coming along on this blog writing journey with me, and taking the time to read my ramblings, but before we go, let me ask you this, what experiences have you had in life that surprised or maybe altered your perception you once had, good or bad?
I can’t wait to hear your answers!
Until we meet again,
Love & Light Always,